Beanie Wells is toting a football with his name on it from the locker room to meetings at Arizona Cardinals headquarters this week.
Teammates try to sneak up and strip the ball from him. If he drops it, he pays a $200 fine to charity. So far, he said, that hasn't happened.
The rookie running back acknowledges he's getting a bit weary of all the attention given to his two fumbles in last Sunday's 31-17 victory at Jacksonville.
"It happened twice in a game but it shouldn't be that big an issue," Wells said after practice on Thursday.
The ordeal started when Wells fumbled for the second time. On the sidelines, safety Adrian Wilson — one of the team's leaders — scribbled Wells' name on a football and handed it to him, telling him to hang onto it.
"As a rookie with two fumbles like that, you just want to have that m.o. (method of operation)," Wilson said. "We expect a lot out of Beanie and I'm pretty sure Beanie expects a lot out of himself,"
Wells said the first fumble was his fault.
"I wasn't protecting it the way I should going through the hole," he said. "The second one was my fault again because I lost it, but the guy made a good play on it."
Take out those two fumbles — the second recovered by Jacksonville to stop an Arizona drive — and Wells has looked strong. Arizona's first-round draft pick, taken No. 31 overall, has gained 73 yards in 14 carries, an average of 5.2 per attempt.
Overall, the Cardinals' ground game — worst in the NFL last season — has had some success in the first two games. Arizona has outrushed its opponents 158-113 through two games.
Wells said he's never had a reputation as a fumbler, and he's worked all week on holding the ball "high and tight" to avoid defenders stripping it away.
"I like what I've seen from what he's done in practice," coach Ken Whisenhunt said, "carrying the ball technique-wise. He's keeping the ball high and tight like we talked about, but it remains to be seen if he can do it in a game. He's gotten a lot of attempts in the building walking around the hall and he's done pretty good with that."
Wells said he can't let worries about a possible fumble affect the aggressiveness of his running style.
Playing behind starter Tim Hightower, Wells has shown the ability to carry tacklers for several yards. The fumbles, he insists, were an aberration.
"I'm definitely not worried about for the future," he said.